By Elsie Walker
Over 40 residents signed up to accept Florham Park’s Wellness
Challenge to follow a healthy lifestyle this summer. They will follow a
program which offers residents a variety of activities- such as yoga,
kick-boxing and health screenings- they can fit into their own schedules
and earn points for doing them. At the end of the summer, the points
will be turned into tickets for a tricky tray with healthy lifestyle prizes.
The program is free, except for any items purchased at a farmer’s
market, and Florham Park residents ages 18 and older could register for
it. The program, which is endorsed by The Mayors Wellness Campaign,
was developed by members of the Pequannock Health Department.
“Everyone was so excited at the kick-off,” said Gina McConeghy, a
health educator and health inspector for the Pequannock Health
Department who came up with the concept for the program.
She took the idea to Pequannock Assistant Health Officer Gail Gratzel.
“Gail really made it happen,” said McConeghy. With help from Lauren
Lombardo, an intern from George Washington University working
towards her master’s in public health, the program was developed. It
was rolled out to a number of towns, including Florham Park.
What excited Gratzel about the concept was that it allowed people to do
activities within their own schedule and to try something new and see if
they liked it. For example, someone who had never done it before
could try yoga.
McConeghy commented, “It gives them a structure to do that.” It opens
doors to different healthy experiences. There are many area vendors
offering free sessions for the challenge.
Among the vendors participating are CKO Kickboxing, Retro Fitness,
USA Fit for Life, Powerhouse Gym and 3 Birds Yoga. There are also
special events, such as Olympia from USA Fit for Life, leading a special
exercise session at the recreation center. There is also a weekly run-
walk gathering at the recreation center which allows those who are in the
challenge to gather and socialize.
“To keep residents active, socializing, and moving,” is the purpose of
the program, said McConeghy.
In addition to the exercise activities, the program has other activities that
participants can do to earn points. Those include a health screening,
blood pressure and blood screening at Shoprite Greater Morristown, and
for those with diabetes or prediabetes, making an appointment at Zufall
Health for a consultation regarding case management and control.
Healthy eating activities are also involved in the challenge.
Purchases at farmers’ markets will earn participants points as well as
attending the Health Education series at Shoprite Greater Morristown,
Chatham and Livingston. The series includes Jersey Fresh Fridays
where challenge participation can pick up a healthy recipe at the store
and earn points by showing that they made it. There’s also a nutrition
consult with a dietitian and a one on one store tour.
In late August, at the end of the challenge, the points earned by
participants can be redeemed for tickets at a tricky tray finale held at the
Recreation Center Pavilion. Prizes include a Fitbit, yoga mat, and
However, McConeghy noted that the real reward is not the tricky tray
prize. The “gift is in the doing,” she said.